Carbisdale Castle was built between 1905 and 1917 for the Duchess of Sutherland who’s marriage to the 3rd Duke of Sutherland was not well liked in the Sutherland family. When the Duke died to settle the dispute over his will the family agreed to build a castle for the Duchess as long as it was outside of the Sutherland lands. She had it cleverly located on a hillside and visible to a large part of Sutherland. It became known as the 'Castle of Spite' as it is widely considered that the Duchess located the castle there to spite her husbands family and the settlement agreement. And in fact the castle's tower only has clocks on three of its four faces - the side facing Sutherland, and the main road and rail line which the Sutherland family would have to use to travel south, is blank as supposedly the Duchess did not wish to give the time of day to her former relatives.
Colonel Theodore Salvesen, a wealthy Scottish businessman of Norwegian extraction, bought the castle in 1933. The castle provided a safe refuge for King Haakon VII of Norway during the Nazi occupation of Norway in World War II. During that time the castle was also used to hold important meetings. King Haakon VII made an agreement at the Carbisdale Conference on June 22, 1941, that the Russian forces, should they enter Norwegian territory, would not stay there after the war. Three years later the Red Army entered Norway and captured thirty towns, but later withdrew according to the terms of the agreement.After the Colonel died his son inherited the castle and gave its contents and estate to the Scottish Youth Hostels Association. Carbisdale Castle Youth Hostel opened to members on June 2, 1945 and is still welcoming them today.